I have been lost from the world for the last 24 hours. Unableto do anything without breaking into a sweat. I have banked another two days of bad mummy points as once again Daddy has had to step in and run the ship. Hopefully this will be the last bad thing to happen for a while.
On Monday night Matilda had her second bad night in a row. She was refusing to feed and crying, obviously in a lot of discomfort. The first night I was able to handle the disjointed sleep but this second night I was really struggling. When I woke up on Tuesday morning my skin felt like it was on fire but I was freezing cold. I alternated from cold and clammy to scorching with sweat. If someone touched me it was like they were stabbing me with little pins. I could not think straight, all my joints were aching and I had absolutely no energy. I felt awful. I had a raging temperature and all I wanted to do was sleep. Thankfully my wonderful husband realised that I was not in a good way and he took charge of Esther and William so that all I had to do was take to my bed with Matilda and ensure she was fed. I did not realise then that she was helping me just as much as I was helping her.
During my less delirious moments on Tuesday I realised that one of my breasts was throbbing and was painful to the touch.
I knew it then. The fever was being caused because of Mastitis.
I have never had this before but I have heard enough stories and read enough magazines to know the signs. My breast was infected and causing the flu like symptoms I was experiencing.
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast, usually caused by an infection.
Mastitis most commonly occurs in mothers who are breast-feeding. It typically occurs within the first few weeks of breast-feeding. As many as 1 in 3 breast-feeding mothers may have mastitis. Sometimes it occurs if you suddenly stop breast-feeding and the breasts become very swollen and sore because of the milk.
Mastitis sometimes occurs in women who are not breast-feeding. Bacteria get into the milk ducts of the breast to cause the infection. This may be through a crack or sore in the nipple or from a nipple piercing. Some women without sore nipples also develop mastitis.
David was keen for me to go the doctors but I wanted to see if I could clear it myself first. Matilda Mae played her part perfectly feeding often throughout the day. I am sure it was her refusal of feeding on those two bad nights that caused the problem to occur so I was glad that she was feeding regularly again now.
There are lots of things you can do to ease the pain of mastitis and these techniques will also help to cure non infectious mastitis.
drinking plenty of fluids
using painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen that are available over the counter without prescription to reduce pain and fever (high temperature) – a small amount of paracetamol can enter the breast milk but it is not enough to harm your baby (aspirin is not safe to take while breastfeeding)
not wearing tight-fitting clothing or a bra until your symptoms improve
placing a warm compress (a cloth warmed with warm water) over your breast to help relieve the pain. A warm shower or bath may also help
However if mastitis turns from non infectious to infectious as well as the above methods you will also need to be treated with a course of antibiotics.
This is what I have been trying to avoid!
Antibiotics can make babies restless and irritable. Antibiotics make babies poo runnier and antibiotics give a risk of developing nipple thrush and so giving baby oral thrush. Yuk Yuk!
But there is no getting away from it. The signs are all clear. My breast is infected and I am going to need antibiotics to shift the fever. Thankfully Grandad is here to help today but I want to get back to being Mummy again. These first six weeks with Matilda Mae just feel like I am taking one knock after another.
So now that antibiotics are inevitable. What can I do to avoid nipple thrush? How can I protect my beautiful daughter from getting thrush in her mouth?
It seems that there is not much that can be done to prevent thrush as the use if antibiotics kills off the friendly bacteria needed to stop thruch from developing. I can start to take a probiotic in tablet form or perhaps a yoghurty drink? Or maybe I will not start the antibiotics until tomorrow and see how I am feeling then?
Have you had mastitis? What happened to you? What would your top tips be for prevention or cure? Should I delay taking the antibiotics?
So I went to the doctor and got a stern talking to. Though I had self diagnosed Mastitis correctly it seems I had underestimated the seriousness of the infection. Delaying antibiotics was not an option and in fact after 48 hours I was really too late in starting them. The doctor has asked me to keep a close eye on my inflamed breast and my temperature. I have to hope that we have caught and treated the Mastitis quickly enough to stop it developing into a breast abscess!
Lesson Learned: If you suspect you may have Mastitis see your GP asap!!!